By. Neil Williamson
On Wednesday, the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors will hold a worksession to discuss adopting a Grass Ordinance. State law only allows a county to regulate grass cutting on vacant developed or vacant undeveloped property (Virginia Code § 15.2-901). Such a County ordinance could be written to apply to the development and/or the rural area vacant land.
While the Free Enterprise Forum understands the ability of homeowners associations to enforce their restrictive covenants (which each homeowner enters into knowingly), we question the very need for a grass ordinance.
According to the Staff Report:
Staff receives very few tall grass complaints. In the past 2.5 years, only 2% of the complaints (11 of 581 complaints) related to tall grass. Of those eleven, only five (or 1% of all complaints) could have been addressed by a grass ordinance. Six of the eleven complaints related to occupied property, which the County is not enabled to regulate
Such fields of tall grasses provide a great water resources asset and help serve the open space and biodiversity goals of Albemarle County’s Comprehensive Plan.
At a time when, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has indicated budget constraints will limit their mowing to once a season in many areas, Albemarle County is contemplating hiring a part time “Lawn Ranger” to enforce the proposed grass ordinance.
The Free Enterprise Forum believes the regulation of tall grass on undeveloped property is nowhere near a core function of government.
Albemarle County should send this idea out to pasture.